AntwerpXL was a success
AntwerpXL, the new event for the logistics of breakbulk, RoRo and heavy lift industries, has been hailed a major success. The exhibition and conference, which had its debut on 7-9 May, attracted 3,189 top decision-makers from 59 countries through the doors, including visitors from Caterpillar, Solvay, Shell, Tata Steel, Siemens, ArcelorMittal and Thyssenkrupp.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp, set the tone at the opening ceremony when he said: "Breakbulk is back in Antwerp; it's come home". Attendees agreed, welcoming the opportunity to gather in the port city to see the latest technologies and developments, meet key suppliers, discuss the sector's major issues, network and do business.
The show featured over 100 exhibitors, including major industry names such as Boeckmans, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Conti7, NileDutch, Hartel and Grimaldi Group. They were joined by innovative newer players such as NxtPort, PortXL and Peripass, which were featured within the show's special Innovation Start-Up Zone, where they showcased new technologies with live demonstrations.
"From the Tuesday evening onwards, the visitor numbers were very good," says Albert-Jan Ars, commercial manager, Katoen Natie. "But to be honest, it's not the number of people which matters; it's the quality of those people and the conversations you are able to have with them, and at this show, both of these have been excellent. We've followed up with people and have already had 50% ask for a quotation, which is a great sign that the right people have been at the show, and that they're in the market to buy."
Beyond the show floor, the organisers provided additional opportunities for visitors and exhibitors to network. AntwerpXL 2019 kicked off with a tour of the Port of Antwerp, which included views of both Kieldrecht Lock, the largest lock in the world, Deurganckdok, the largest container terminal in Europe, plus a chance to see and learn about Zuidnatie, the Antwerp Railhouse and Churchill Dock. There was a breakfast seminar organised by Flows, where thought leaders discussed the question, 'Breakbulk in Flanders: Crucial or Marginal?'. An official AntwerpXL Networking Party, hosted at the historic Felix Archive and later at Den Engel in the Square, provided further hospitality.
AntwerpXL's conference program featured two content streams focused on futureproofing and inspiring the future of the breakbulk, Ro-Ro and heavy lift industries. Over 40 experts covered topics such as adapting to The NextGen, blockchain for breakbulk, trade wars and Brexit.
AntwerpXL 2020 takes place on 21-23 May at the Antwerp Expo, Belgium.